Next on the Big Screen: February 2015
Opening February 6
Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Terry Gilliam
What: From the Wachowskis. It’s their first time back in a “Matrix”-like genre with an original screenplay since, well, “The Matrix.” In fact, it’s “The Matrix” meets “Star Wars.” Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, a housecleaner. Channing Tatum plays a genetically engineered galactic warrior who informs her that her true destiny is to help stop a ruthless dynasty, living on another planet, that intends to “harvest” the earth’s human population for evil purposes.
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore, Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Williams
What: The world’s hope lies with the seventh son of a seventh son! In a long-ago time, a war between humanity and the supernatural is about to be set off by a hidden evil. Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges), a knight, had centuries before that time, imprisoned bad witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore). But she escaped, gathering followers from each of her various incarnations, and now prepares to bring destruction and revenge. Master Gregory’s not having any of that, but he only has until the next full moon (a very short time) to train a new apprentice to fight Mother Malkin’s magic.
Starring: Wes Bentley, Vincent Piazza, Amber Tamblyn
What: Reunions—we go to them to figure out what our various alternative life possibilities might have looked like. They’re exciting, nostalgic, but also sometimes sad. Using a picturesque desert landscape as a backdrop, three former band mates (and former friends) reunite to celebrate their collective 30th birthdays. They talk about hopes and dreams, address ancient hurts and scars, and deal with the still-glowing embers of former romantic flames. It’s got great comedic buzz.
Starring: Jake Hoffman, Nikki Reed, Thomas Dekker, Scott Bakula, Jason Priestly
What: A quiet and quietly disturbed American dubstep musician named Jim (Jake Hoffman) starts what appears to him to be a romance with a pretty social worker named Wendy (Nikki Reed). Which gives him hope. But the voices in his head also get louder. She wants to save him—he just wants her. When she rejects the romance, he unravels. She has to call in her mentor to help pull Jim back from the edge of insanity.
Opening February 13
Starring: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Mark Hamill, Mark Strong
What: An experienced spy (Colin Firth), who’s a member of a top-secret organization, recruits a green but talented youngster (Taron Egerton) into the agency’s highly competitive training program. Just in time, too: An evil computer-genius threatens the world! While the Daniel Craig-era “Bond” movies have largely muted the debonair British one-liner humor in order to compete with the gritty American “Bourne” movies, the buzz around the very British “Kingsman” reports that it’s a blast and a hoot, with bulletproof umbrellas and action scenes filled with fun shock-humor.
Starring: Hugh Grant, J.K. Simmons, Marisa Tomei, Allison Janney, Chris Elliott
What: Keith Michaels (Hugh Grant) was at one point a Hollywood-dwelling, Oscar-winning screenwriter. But between divorce and a bunch of flopped films, he’s got a ton of debt. His agent sets up a job teaching screenwriting at New York’s Binghamton University, and Keith’s not in a position to turn it down. He hopes to slack on the teaching in order to be able to give more attention to his next screenwriting project. However, he discovers himself being drawn into his students lives, especially that of single mom Holly (Marisa Tomei).
Opening February 20
Starring: Bella Thorne, Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Allison Janney, Skyler Samuels, Ken Jeong
What: Seventeen-year-old brunette Bianca (Mae Whitman) has a couple of gorgeous blonde best friends, but she feels different from them. They’re a bit airheaded while Bianca’s down-to-earth, practical, and a little cynical. So when good-looking, arrogant player-boy Wesley (Robbie Amell) tells Bianca she’s a DUFF (“designated ugly fat friend” whose job is to make the other girls look good), it kicks off a Bianca-Wesley war.
But Bianca’s home life’s a mess; parents are possibly divorcing, and dad might drink again. Dying to escape her home troubles, she loses it just long enough to kiss player-boy. Now they’re “enemies with benefits.” Good distraction. Very secret. But Wesley might actually have some good qualities, and Bianca might find she likes the guy she loathes.
Starring: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Morgan Saylor, Elsie Fisher, Vincent Martella
What: Cross-country coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) transforms a team of no-account, small-town Latino high school athletes into championship material, establishing an enduring legacy as well. Inspired by a 1987 true story.
Opening February 27
Starring: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, BD Wong, Rodrigo Santoro, Gerald McRaney
What: Seasoned con man Nicky Spurgeon (Will Smith) starts developing romantic feelings for the attractive woman he’s teaching the grifter life to. He breaks it off with her, but three years later, runs into her again. Only now she’s an experienced con woman. They’re both in Buenos Aires, trying to con the same billionaire race-car owner. This is the most dangerous job of Nicky’s career, and she throws a monkey wrench into the works, knocking him off his game.
Starring: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Evan Bird, Olivia Williams, Robert Pattinson
What: This is about a Hollywood family, bent on fame, and riddled with serious dysfunction. An actress diagnosed with schizophrenia, Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) visits her mom Cristina (Olivia Williams) to make amends. She also visits brother Benjie (Evan Bird), a child star. Benjie’s dad, Dr. Stafford Weiss (John Cusack), is a TV psychologist who treats actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore) for abuse. Dr. Stafford and Cristina turn out to be siblings, so what does that make Agatha and Benjie? Got all that? By the time you see the film, you’ll have forgotten.